The National Archives has a loans programme manned by a small dedicated team within the Collection Care Department. A team coordinator, two conservators, a conservation technician and a registrar handle everything from the initial requests to the successful installation and de-installation of our exhibitions, and aim at spreading the riches of our collections beyond our archival borders.
The team facilitates the loan of around 40 documents a year, mostly within the UK and continental Europe but also to the more distant horizons of Canada, the USA and Australia.
All our loans are escorted or couriered by a member of the team who will oversee the installation and de-installation of each exhibition. Beyond being motivated by a love of our collections, it is also an exciting opportunity to travel to different public and private institutions, nationally and internationally – a perk of the job, even if it involves travelling in an art handler’s lorry for many hours!
All loan preparations are performed on site at The National Archives. Our team coordinator manages the activities and communications, ensuring we fulfil our responsibilities to document care. Our art registrar acts as first point of contact, schedules meetings, monitors progress and expenses, liaises with the National Security Adviser and insurance companies, organises transport – the list is long. Our conservation technician devises packing solutions to make sure all our precious documents will be protected at all times – he even sometimes makes miniature models of transport crates to make sure the conservators put everything back into the right place and order! Continue reading »